Photos: Protests on the 36th Anniversary of Martial Law


Protest rally in Dumaguete City, Guihulgnan and Escalante City….

News Release —- September 21, 2008


Shouting anti-government chants and carrying placards with anti-militarization slogans, 700 militant members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Negros (BAYAN), KARAPATAN, September 21 Movement and the Northern Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (NNAHRA) marched in downtown Bacolod yesterday to remind the dark period of Martial Law in the country.

The groups also burned the effigy of Uncle Sam and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whom the militant activist considered as the brains behind the total war campaign and human rights violations.

More than 300 join the protest action held today in Guihulngan and Dumaguete City while more than 1,000 participate in a rally commemorating the Escalante Massacre was held last Saturday in Escalante.

“Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is comparable to the late dictator in terms of human rights abuses, corruptions and unpopularity. Her regime committed gross and systemic human rights violations with 910 victims of extrajudicial killings and 195 victims of enforced disappearance”, says BAYAN Secretary-General Felipe Levy Gelle Jr.

“The incarceration of Randall Echaniz, Emilia and Maricris Quirante, the poor upland farmers of Cadiz, Calatrava and Cauayan and rising numbers of political of conscience across the country are hallmarks of a fascist regime who considers political dissenters as “subversives and “enemies of the state”. KARAPATAN recorded 19 political prisoners in various jails in Negros Island.”

Randall Echaniz, deputy secretary-general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) was illegally arrested by plainclothes police and army intelligence operatives in Bago City while attending a land reform conference.

Gelle added that “like Marcos, Arroyo relied on the trusted military and police generals to prop up her weakening and unpopular governance. She made possible the increasing budget for AFP modernization and launch total war campaign against the Moro people and the Filipino masses through the Oplan Bantay Laya 2”.

“The regime answered the people’s struggle for just wages, security of jobs and opposing landgrabbing by mining and biofuel agribusiness with additional army troops, bullets and bombs and the militarization of Negros countryside. The horrors of martial law are coming back”.

The people must courageously resist the worsening repression and oppression as well as to call to an end to the vicious attacks on the democratic rights of the people. We must continue to fight for justice not only for the victims of the Marcos and Arroyo regime but to put an end to the system that breeds this oppression.

BAYAN Press Statement

September 20, 2008

Activists, old and new, mark Martial Law anniversary in Mendiola

Activists spanning several generations converged at the foot of the Don Chino Roces (Mendiol) Bridge today to commemorate the 36th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The groups are demanding justice for the victims of the Marcos dictatorship and as well as the human rights victims under the Arroyo administration. In particular, the protesters are calling for the release of 218 political prisoners, 198 of whom were arrested under the Arroyo regime according to human rights group SELDA.

“The Arroyo regime has gained the sole distinction of being the regime closest to the Marcos dictatorship in terms of its human rights record, corruption and foreign policy. The Arroyo regime is the best argument that we should never allow a return to a fascist dictatorship, no matter what the pretext is,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“Despite its claims of an improving human rights climate in the country, hundreds of victims are still being denied justice. Scores of activists are incarcerated in jails all over the country, a grim reminder that the vestiges of Martial Rule are still here,” Reyes said.

The militant group cited the case of detained peasant leader Randall Echanis who was also jailed during Martial Law and is now facing murder charges under the Arroyo regime. Echanis has been in detention since January.

“It is a basic feature of a fascist dictatorship that all those who disagree with it are treated as enemies and criminals. This explains the huge rise in the number of political detainees under Mrs. Arroyo’s watch,” Reyes said.

Bayan and human rights groups Karapatan, SELDA and Hustisya converged on Mendiola Bridge for a wreath-laying activity and a short program. The veterans of Martial Law marched from Lepanto Recto while the younger generation of activists marched from the Bustillos Church.

“The fear of a return to Martial Rule by any name is not unfounded. We see the desperation of the regime to stay in power at all costs. We see the unrestrained role of the military in government. We see the continued backing of the United States for an unpopular regime,” Reyes said.

“The only thing that stands in their way is the people. Our people have learned enough from Marcos and they will never allow such a monstrosity to return. Our people will resist,” Reyes added.

(Inspired by the works of Amado V. Hernandez, Rio Alma, Jose Lacaba and Bienvenido Lumbera)

Joi Barrios-Leblanc, BAYAN PHILIPPINES Women’s Desk

Never again.
Never again to barbed wires.
A stretch of sky from a prison cell[1],
The constant fear of fascist rule

Never again to the grasshopper queen[2]
Her opulent feasts as the masses starve.
She who thinks she wears a crown,
Hesitates not when she tramples upon the poor.

Never again to the amazing adventures of Juan de la Cruz,[3]
From the rice fields to the factory, he seeks for work
Yet, at each turn, a sign:
“Bawal magreklamo!” “Bawal magwelga”
No complaints, no strikes, no dreams of freedom
nor prosperity allowed.

I gaze at the photographs taken by the lens of my youth[4]
Then and now in my beloved land,
and I ask, what the difference is
Of Martial Law declared
And Martial Law creeping in.

Never again, not today, nor tomorrow[M1] .
Our eyes wide open in the darkness of the night,
We stand guard, learning from the past.
The masses can drive away kings and queens,
Pretenders to the throne
Armed with love for the land,
The people shall never hesitate to revolt.


(Pasintabi sa mga makatang Amado V. Hernandez, Rio Alma, Jose Lacaba at Bienvenido Lumbera)

Joi Barrios-Leblanc, BAYAN (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan) Women’s Desk

Hindi na kailanman.
Hindi na kailanman ang alembreng tinik,
ang bilanggong pulitikal na tumatanaw sa kapirasong langit[5]
ang takot sa pasismo na namamahay sa dibdib.

Hindi na kailanman ang kondesa del tipaklong,[6]
Ang magagarang pista habang mamamayan ay gutom,
Ang pagtapak sa mahirap niyang nag-aakala
na korona ang sa ulo nakapatong.

Hindi na kailanman ang isang Juan de la Cruz na may pakikipagsapalarang kagila-gilalas,[7]
Mula sa bukid hanggang sa pabrika, trabaho ang hinahanap,
Ngunit sa bawat hakbang, ay may karatulang nagsasaad:
“Bawal magreklamo!” “Bawal magwelga!”
“Bawal ang mangarap ng laya at gihhawa!”

Pinagmamasdan ko ang mga kuha ng aking kamera:[8]
ang noon at ngayon sa aking bayang sinisinta,
at nagtatanong: ano nga ba ang pagkakaiba,
ng Batas Militar na hayag at binabandila,
at Batas Militar, na palihim, dahan-dahan
na gumagapang upang sakmalin, ang ating kalayaan.

Hindi na kailanman. hindi ngayon, hindi bukas.
Pagkat tayong ang mga mata’y nakadilat
sa kadiliman ng magdamag,
Tayong nakatanod at handang kumllos,
Tayong naturuan na ng kasaysayan,
Batid nating walang hari o nagrereyna-reynahan
Ang hindi mapatatalaksik ng bayang nagnganalit,
Bayang ang bawat himagsik, ay nakasalig sa lupang iniibig.

[1] From Amado V. Hernandez’s “Isang Dipang Langit.”
[2] From Rio Alma”s “Kondesa del Tipaklong.”
[3] From Jose Lacaba’s “Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Juan dela Cruz.”
[4] From Bienvenido Lumbera”s “Tatlong Kuha ng Aking Kamera
[5] Humahalaw ang imahe na ito sa “Isang Dipang Langit” ni Amado V. Hernandez
[6] Humahalaw ang imahe na ito sa “Kondesa del Tipaklong” ni Rio Alma.
[7] Humahalaw ang imahe na ito mula sa “Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Juan dela Cruz” ni Jose Lacaba
[8] Humahalaw ang imahe na ito mula sa “Tatlong Kuha ng Aking Kamera” ni Bienvenido Lumbera.

Press conference of BAYAN, KARAPATAN and Northern Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates announcing the protest actions for the 36th Anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law


September 20, 2008
Reference: Joanne Alcantara, GABRIELA-USA, National Coordinator
(206) 859-7525, email


Thirty-six years ago, on September 21, 1972, Ferdinand Marcos, the
former US-supported dictator of the Philippines, declared Martial Law
in his country. The political repression, liberalization of economic
policies and social constriction following his declaration claimed the
lives of hundreds of Filipinos. Today, the historical trauma of that
period and the continuation of backwards economic and political
policies still resonate. Filipino American women denounce the ongoing
militarization of the Philippines and the undeclared state of Martial
Law in the Philippines under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA).

The resonance of Martial Law can be more accurately described as an
extension and continuation of graft and corruption from the Marcos
dictatorship all the way through the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime.
While she sits in her stolen presidential seat, GMA has washed her
hands in the blood of over a thousand community leaders, activists and
common people. GMA’s eagerness to bend over backwards to the dictates
of United States politics and its IMF/World Bank appendages have
outdone the assaults of Marcos on his own people.

The increasing conflict in Mindanao, falsely assigned religious
undertones as its source, finds its origins in the years of Martial
Law when Marcos engineered Philippine policies and legislation to open
up to the demands and orders of countless transnational, multinational
corporations and the then emerging IMF/World Bank. These grievances
exacted on the people of Mindanao pushed the Bangsamoro people to
fight against economic and state aggression to protect their land,
life and resources.

The very same fight exists today in Mindanao, the violence erupting is
from a people defending themselves and their land. The easy fallback
story of Christians versus Muslims is one of the fables in GMA’s
fictional legacy in her presidency, just like her claims to appease
the poverty and labor situation in the Philippines. US-backed foreign
intervention and the return of permanent US military bases is again a
reality for the Philippine people under the watch and permission of
the GMA administration.

The direct impacts of GMA’s foreign diplomacy results in the
displacement of women and children in Mindanao, beginning with the
arrival of US military occupation in 2001. Family homes, children’s
schools and community spaces have been readily disposed to be replaced by military development and corporate aggression. The “collateral damage” and the lives of women and children taken by these settlements are shocking and continue to escalate.

The entrance of US military bases in Mindanao opens the doors for the
proliferation of bases elsewhere in the Philippines, Zamboanga being a
site for expansion. These conditions, tried and true, leave women more
vulnerable to prostitution, sexual terrorism and rape with the arrival
of military servicemen in the thousands.

GABRIELA-USA, consisting of babae, San Francisco, Pinay Sa Seattle and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment in New York, unite to call for a serious investigation of the US military encampments in the
Philippines and a restoration of constitutional law and Philippine
sovereignty. GABRIELA-USA demands that respect be reinstated to the
people of Mindanao, that they be granted their ancestral domain and be
able to live with the dignity of their full human rights.

On September 20, 2008, at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center,
FiRE-GABRIELA USA hosts “On Martial Law.” This event features special guest Bebot Galvan from KABALIKAT, support network for Filipina domestic workers. Together, community members remember the conditions of Martial Law under Marcos, his overthrow during People Power I in 1986 and discuss today’s conditions of ongoing militarization and the call to oust Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) is a mass-based women’s organization serving New York City and its surrounding areas. We connect the Filipino diaspora to the women’s struggle in the Philippines. By bringing woman-born and woman-identified people together, we challenge pervading stereotypes and create self-defined Filipina identities. For more information, please visit

FiRE is a proud member of BAYAN-USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth. To learn more about the only overseas chapter of BAYAN, and the other organizations in our alliance, please visit

News Release
September 21, 2008
Reference: Berna Ellorin, Secretary-General, BAYAN USA, email:

Arroyo Worse Than Marcos, But Undeclared Martial Law Won’t Save Unpopular Administration– BAYAN USA

On the 36th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines under the US-backed dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, Filipino-Americans under BAYAN USA are vowing to support the current movement to remove the current “undeclared dictator” Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from her presidential seat.

“In many ways, she is worse than Marcos,” states BAYAN USA Chair Chito Quijano. “While Marcos imprisoned his opposition, Arroyo’s death squads just kill them in broad daylight in front of the civilian eyes. It is still an undeclared martial law in our country.”

According to the most recent reports from Philippine human rights monitoring group Karapatan, approximately 1000 extrajudicial killings of civilian dissidents have been documented as of June 2008 under the Arroyo administration, while an additional approximation of 200 abducted. In the last nine months alone, more than 230,000 Filipinos have been have been victimized by forced evacuation and massive displacement due to extensive militarization in the countryside, which also spawns other terrorizing acts such as indiscriminate firing at civilians, hamletting, as well as harassment and intimidation by the US-backed Armed Forces of the Philippines on poor farming communities in the far-flung regions of the country.

“The US government is as responsible for the human rights atrocities committed in the last seven years of Arroyo’s regime, as it was guilty for crimes against humanity committed during the Marcos dictatorship,” declared Quijano.

Since 2002, hundreds of millions of US taxes have been allocated to the Philippines. This escalation of US-intervention followed the Philippines’ designation by Bush and his war-criminal cabinet as the “2nd front of the war on terror.”

Corruption is also remains at an all-time high under Arroyo. While the ZTE-NBN scandal has plagued the administration since last year, numerous cash payola bribery schemes and misappropriation of billions in government funds are strongly latched to Arroyo as well.

“It’s as if Arroyo is trying her best to mimic her idols, Ferdinand and Imelda, in terms of lavishness of lifestyle, human rights violations, and government corruption,” Quijano added.

“Now with armed conflict escalating in Mindanao, Arroyo is once again living up to the Marcos legacy,” Quijano continued. “Marcos spearheaded the all-out war in Mindanao by opening it up to the neoliberal dictates of transnational corporations. Arroyo continues the legacy by pitting the conflict as strife between Muslims and Christians. It is not. In fact, it is Arroyo’s and the US military who are the most violent aggressors in the region, seeking to evacuate Muslim and Christian communities alike in favor of mining companies, golf courses, and forced land conversions.”

Arroyo is set to come to the United States for the second time in the past 3 months, with her last visit in June raking in millions in expenses on hotels for herself and her 50+ entourage. She will be in the US again by September 23.

Despite the ongoing economic and political crises, Filipino-Americans are confident martial law tactics won’t defend Arroyo’s seat from a broad opposition movement. As in 1986 and 2001, Filipinos are once again clamoring for another unseating in Malacanang.

“There is a formula that has been proven time and time again in Philippine history. Repression against the people breeds resistance. Arroyo’s repression will be her own undoing, because it is forcing more and more Filipinos into action,” Quijano ended. ###

September 21, 2008
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment
(FiRE), (925) 726-5768, email


New York, NY–In the middle of a busy Saturday at the Filipino community hub of Woodside, Queens, a younger generation of Filipino Americans gathered to hear the stories of a different generation. The generation that lived through a dark chapter in Philippine History, Martial Law, helped piece together a story that sometimes is easier to forget.

Bebot Galvan, a member of KABALIKAT Domestic Workers Support, was one of the guest speakers of the event organized by a Filipino women’s organization, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE). Galvan started the sharing by telling the crowd that we “can’t remember Martial Law without remembering family, friends and comrades.” Galvan recounted the added dangers women had to face under Martial Law, detention meant sexual torture and rape under the hands of the fascist government. She went on to tell about the blatant injustices perpetrated by the Marcos regime to the common Filipino people: the curfews, the lack of freedom of speech and press, constant surveillance, to say the least.

Another invited speaker was Ramon Mappala, a former detainee during arbitrary sweeps of Martial Law, shared his experiences as a student at the University of the Philippines in Baguio City and how activism on campus was an invitation for government scrutiny. He told the younger generation that gatherings like the one we were having would be warrant enough for arrest and detention. As the young people in the audience looked around in disbelief, Mappala insisted that any critical stances of the government was undoubtedly punished.

Thirty-six years ago today, on September 21, 1972, Ferdinand Marcos, the former US-supported dictator of the Philippines, declared Martial Law in the Philippines. And today, the historical trauma of that period and the
continuation of backwards economic and political policies still resonate. Both Galvan and Mappala commented on the state of Martial Law and its continuation throughout the years.

Galvan stated, “Martial law hasn’t ended at all. Martial law has existed through Marcos, Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and especially Macapagal-Arroyo.” The height of the human rights violations in the Marcos
dictatorship has been surpassed by the Macapagal-Arroyo regime in her 7 years in office, GMA’s record has a over thousand violations reported in 2008. GMA’s eagerness to bend over backwards to the dictates of United States politics and its IMF/World Bank appendages have outdone the assaults of Marcos on his own people.

“Martial law still exists because those in power during Marcos’ administration is still in seats of power,” said Mappala, “But the
difference today is the government don’t care to make excuses for
disappearing activists.” The disappearance of 2 young women, students at the University of the Philippines and activists, Sheryl Cadapan and Karen Empeno, doing field research with famers in 2006 is evidence to the brutality of state repression under the Arroyo regime.

This inter-generational exchange ultimately led to the question: how has
Martial Law affected subsequent generations, especially those Filipinos born in the US? Jackie Mariano, the educational officer of FiRE, stated, “Our lives as Filipinos in the US are connected to Philippine history and current struggles as the US-Philippine regimes come closer and closer together.”

GMA’s policy of political repression, foreign diplomacy and economic
strategies mimic the very steps that Ferdinand Marcos to drive the Philippine into unending debt and social unrest. Despite, these odds, in an afternoon commemorating the deaths and disappeared during the Martial Law era, these generations of Filipinos in the US came together to also remember the resilience of the Filipino people.

“Remembering our history through the experiences of members in our
community is the best way learn,” Mariano added, “As FilAms we have
inherited this history and the right to change our future.”


(Arkibong Bayan)


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